Democrat candidate who reportedly moved to district for employment is actually unemployed

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New York Democratic candidate for Congress Matt Castelli claimed he moved into his election district from D.C. for employment, but it appears the job was running for Congress.

Matt Castelli, the Democrat who will face off against Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., this November, has been the target of a number of accusations about his past since he embarked on his bid for Congress, but the latest question of his candidacy has to do with his work, or lack thereof.

Castelli, a former CIA officer, reportedly made the move to New York’s 21st Congressional District — a sprawling rural and suburban region hours outside New York City — from Washington, DC, in August 2021, a month before he announced his campaign for Congress. According to at least one interview, he made the move to Saratoga, N.Y., for employment.

Financial disclosures filed by the candidate to the House Ethics office list his most recent employer as veteran-founded Unite Us, a tech company based in New York City focused on the healthcare sector. However, no income has been reported from that position since he began his pursuit of the heavily Republican district that shares a border with Canada.

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Matt Castelli moved into New York’s 21st Congressional District 3 months before announcing his campaign for Congress.

Matt Castelli moved into New York’s 21st Congressional District 3 months before announcing his campaign for Congress.
(Matt Castelli for Congress)

A representative from Castelli’s congressional campaign confirmed to Fox News Digital that Castelli ceased employment with Unite Us three months after moving to the district, despite listing the company as his employer in January 2022. Since November 2021, Castelli has been “campaigning full time.” The campaign says that due to the possibility of receiving commissions for prior work, they decided to list the employment anyway. Castelli has earned no employment income in 2022 as he travels around the 12-county district wooing voters.

Castelli’s campaign now denies that his move was for employment, but rather states that his employment at the time “allowed” him to move to the district where GOP Conference Chair Stefanik happens to hold office. 

Castelli’s team told Fox his motivation for moving to the district primarily had to do with the presence of friends and family in the area. A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Castelli grew up in the Hudson Valley region just north of New York City and about a two-hour drive from where he recently moved.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik has represented New York's 21st Congressional District since 2015.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik has represented New York’s 21st Congressional District since 2015.
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Although the job with United Us did not require Castelli to move to the district, his campaign said that during his employment there he represented the Northeast region of the United States, so the move enhanced his ability to do his job. According to the campaign, “NY-21 has the highest percentage of veterans in the state,” which would have been relevant to the work Castelli did at United Us.

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Castelli’s move into NY-21, after spending most of his career in the nation’s capital, has been called out by local media. In a Times Union column about Democrats vying for the nomination ahead of the primary election, writer Chris Churchill wrote “Stefanik can gleefully and somewhat correctly, deride them all as carpetbaggers.”

In August, The Daily Mail reported that a number of Castelli’s former colleagues at the CIA claimed his time at the government agency was plagued by conduct issues — from drinking on the job to having inappropriate sexual encounters at work.

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Castelli’s campaign fervently denied the claims and dismissed the accusations as a “political hit job” from allies of Stefanik.

Former CIA officer and candidate for Congress in NY-21, Matt Castelli, served in the Obama administration. 

Former CIA officer and candidate for Congress in NY-21, Matt Castelli, served in the Obama administration. 
(Matt Castelli for Congress)

According to Castelli’s website, his desire to run for Congress stemmed from watching “domestic terrorists attack the U.S. capitol” on January 6th, 2021.

The campaign told Fox News digital that Castelli “is a moderate who will address the issues that NY-21 voters care about like fighting to reduce the cost of daily life for working families and seniors and building a strong economy for everyone, protecting our freedoms and Second Amendment rights, and ensuring the safety and security of all Americans including protecting Social Security and Medicare.”

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As of the latest available FEC filing released in August, Castelli had raised $1,111,026 and Stefanik raised $6,915,373.

The seat is considered safe for Republicans and is unlikely to flip to blue in the November 8 midterm elections.

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